P.A.R.E otherwise referred to as S.U.C.K.
If you have never heard of the P.A.R.E, it’s the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation that you must pass in order to be recruited as either an R.C.M.P officer or a C.B.S.A. officer (Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Canadian Border Services Agency) Personally I am going to refer to the PARE as the SUCK from this point onward. S.U.C.K; seriously unconventional contortions kids.
I am writing about the S.U.C.K. because I have decided to take a complete left turn in my career goals. I am currently in the process of applying to become a Canadian Border Services Agency Officer. In order to be accepted to the training college in Rigaud Quebec you must first pass the S.U.C.K.
If you have already ran the S.U.C.K and have passed then you will refer to this blog as unnecessary because well, you’re a super hero and you passed it with flying colors in a mere 2.2 minutes and negative seconds. I, however, a mere mortal, am having the utmost difficulty wrapping my head around this unbeatable unsurmountable unkind and unconventional obstacle course. Could be my age, or my mind, or a combination of both, who knows? All I know is that this course is beating me and I haven’t even toe’d the starting line.
What does the S.U.C.K. consist of?
20 foot run to obstacle #1 – The cone! Haha! Ok, so that’s not terrifying, however, after you round the cone, there is another 20 foot run, somewhere in the middle there is a 5 foot mat (yoga mat) and you have to jump it mid 20 foot run. Don’t let your feet land on the mat because if you do, that’s a 5 second penalty! CONE! Round the cone and you have a staircase. You have to run up one side and down the other and back up and down again; another 20 foot run and CONE! Round that one and it’s 2 hurdles snuck in between the next 20 foot run. Jump those hurdles and it’s CONE! Round the cone and you have to vault a 3 foot wall, then do a controlled fall (think BURPEE) either on your front or back and run to the finish… you have to do the circuit 6 times! Yep, 6! No, that’s not a typo, it really is 6 (SIX) times following that, you have to go to a “push/pull station”. I have yet to meet this contraption, but as far as I can tell, you have to push and pull a weight around a 180 degree half circle touching one side of a wall and the other with the outside of your foot … it’s supposed to simulate struggling with a person whom is under arrest… you have to do complete this circuit in LESS THAN 4 minutes and 45 seconds! Following that, if you haven’t died, or thrown up or called your mother, you then have to carry an 80 pound sand bag an undetermined amount of feet. That’s it. Done. Easy peasy right?
I consider myself to be a fairly fit 40 something, I mean, I typically hit the gym for some boot camp on Monday’s and Thursdays, Wed is YOGA, Tues and Fri I typically go for a short run and do a long run on the weekend. Passing the S.U.C.K. should be easy right? Everyone that knows me says “What are you so worried about? You are going to KILL this!” Granted, they haven’t seen me jump, sprint, lift or BURPEE; burp? Yes! BURPEE? Hard no.
When you initially apply for the CBSA, on the website, it asks you if you have passed the PARE, I selected no, it then tells you that it’s in your best interest to attempt and pass as soon as possible. It then goes on to say that the process is typically a 2 year process. As long as you pass your Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms courses before you apply, the PARE can be done as soon as possible. ALL righty then. Fast forward to beginning of year 2. I still have not completed my PARE and it’s getting close. What I mean is I have passed every other aspect of this process, it’s just the S.U.C.K. that I have left to do.
I looked online at the acceptable testing facilities near me and the closest one is in Moncton. MONCTON? Really? Ugh, that sucks! I was feeling confident so I emailed the coordinator to inquire about an appointment date. Turns out he is only testing until the 11th of December then he won’t be back until the 8th of Jan. The cost to take the test is $60.00 Ugh. Not only was I thinking I’d better be able to pass the first time due to the drive, I also best be able to pass for the cost of taking the darn thing. Double ugh. I initially opted for the 11thof December, but considering it’s so close and I still can’t jump, lift, sprint or BURPEE, I chickened out and changed it for the 8th of Jan. The jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll make that date. Such began the search to pass the SUCK.
I googled and googled and googled so much that my eyes turned into those little plastic eyes you paste on teddy bears. I quickly found out just how fit a person needs to be in order to be successful at the SUCK. ( I probably should have spent as much time squatting, sprinting, lifting and burping ah burpeeing that I did googling). Apparently it’s pretty fit. I downloaded exercises and the map of the PARE and my dear hubby actually set up a course (complete with 3 foot wall) in our backyard. I attempted the course and quickly realized that I can’t jump a 5 foot mat. Like literally. CAN NOT DO IT. I spoke with the SUCK coordinator in Moncton and he advised me that I need to work on interval training because the SUCK is very different than the marathon type long and slow running I’m used to. I spoke with a trainer at 360 fit who told me that the 5 foot mat jump sounded like an impossible feat, he really seemed shocked that it was something they would put on a test. Seeing his shock and horror really took the breeze out of my already quite deflated sails. (after I left with my head hanging low and my stride slow and defeated I decided he must have thought I was jumping UP 5 feet (like on a box) not ACROSS 5 feet)
I’m not a quitter. Back to the computer I went to try and figure out exactly what I needed to do in order to get proficient at this PARE. Surely there are exercises I can do to get me more comfortable jumping. Surely there are trainers out there that know what the SUCK is and know how to condition people to jumping. To my pleasant surprise, THERE IS! In BC. Ugh! (Redline Condirioning sounds like an awesome place to check out if you are in the area)
I have upped my interval training, if you have never heard of Jacob’s Ladder, I suggest you try and find a gym that has one, this thing is AMAZING! I can only do about 1-2 minutes at a time before I want to vomit and have to stop. I have done it twice now and I already feel my anaerobic conditioning improving. I’ve upped my lifting, well, I’ve upped it from nothing. I’ve been practicing my mat jumping and still can’t do it, but I’m still not giving up. I still have a little more than 4 weeks before I take my test and I plan on working my butt off until I get it. If I still can’t do the jump by then I will just put it off again until I can.
If you are looking for some training to either help YOU pass a PARE or just to up your anaerobic conditioning or tone up your muscles, the folks atwww.leofitness.ca have some amazing workouts and instructional videos available for free to help you out. They even have provided a 16 week Training Program that will take you from zero conditioning to hero conditioning where you can not only pass your PARE but probably set a PARE PR! Ha! This program is available for a fee, much cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. They are always available via email as well to help answer any questions you may have. They have been very helpful to me and I wanted to share their page with you. Even if you’re not training for the SUCK, you might find some useful tips and tricks to take you to the next level in your training.
As for me and my CBSA goals, well, I guess I’ll keep you posted.
If you follow my blog, you will recall a post I made a few months ago regarding Forks over Knives and a diet based on plant nutrition. The post spoke of co-race director James Penny and the amazing changes I witnessed in him in just one year. Not only did he lose an incredible amount of weight, but he could blast past me on our daily runs like it was nothing. When he would blast past me barely breaking a sweat he would scream "POWERED BY PLANTS!" we would joke back and forth about his love for plants and my love for pigs. (eating them). After about a month of this banter back and forth I decided to get real. I mean, he was really doing amazingly well and I was still struggling to put out a 5k without stopping under a 7min/km pace. It truly was humbling. I got serious and started asking him numerous questions about this plant based diet. He turned me on to Forks over Knives. I was all in. I lost 20 lbs in my first month and although I'm still stagnant at a pound or 2 up and down, I feel amazing and I have totally embraced the plant based lifestyle. With thanks for the Forks over Knives meal planning App I have tried so many tasty recipes and I am going to share another of my favourites with you.
Combine your cooked lentils to your can of Navy Beans. Using a fork, mash lentils and cannellini beans in a bowl until nearly smooth.
Add oats, scallions, jalapeño (if using)
add cilantro, (seriously, what is with all the cilantro hate anyway?) lime juice, and garlic. Mix well, (come on, get in there with your bare hands! It is so satisfying!) then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Form burger mixture into 4 patties about 1 inch thick and 3 ½ inches in diameter. Bake on prepared baking sheets until lightly browned and heated through, about 20 minutes.
Spiced Cucumber Salad
Whisk together peanut butter, maple syrup, cilantro (if using), lime juice, garlic, pepper flakes (if using), and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
Assemble and SERVE!
Serve burgers on whole-grain buns topped with romaine lettuce and scallions; drizzle with sauce. Serve with spiced cucumber salad.
INGREDIENTSFOR THE BURGERS
What qualifies you as a runner? I mean a “real” runner? Getting up at 0-dark-30 to travel for a 7:45start comes pretty close I think.
Co-Race Director James Penny and I often joke about being a ‘real’ runner. On our long runs especially, when we pass runners with the water packs, gel packs and compression gear, we know just by looking at them that they are of the ‘elite class’ they are ‘real’ runners. “What are we then?” I’d ask him. Oh, we just “pretend to run”. Yah! Tell that to my soaked clothing from head to toe , my burning lungs, my heavy legs and my aching back that I’m just pretending!
Jimmie is one of the best running buddies I’ve ever had. He never complains, he always goes my pace no matter what pace that is and he has agreed to sign on as co-director for the H2H 5k. What more could I ask for in a running buddy? (besides asking him to just be quiet… he talks WAY TOO MUCH!) So, when Jimmie asked me if I would go to the Valley Harvest Marathon with him, I couldn’t say no. It was immediately following our ½ marathon at Maritime Race Weekend. I knew he wanted to see just how fast he could do it and I knew he wasn’t expecting me to do another ½ he just wanted someone to go with him. Of course! He signed up to do his 2nd ½ in 3 weeks and I signed up for the 10k. At 0-dark-30 James Penny was sitting in my driveway ready and anxious to get on the road to Wolfville. Him, up since 4am, me just pulling on my socks 10 minutes after the alarm went off at 6:15 am.
Since this one was more Jimmies race to run than mine, I asked him to Blog about it. I asked him to contribute his review, sadly, he’s more of a talker than a writer so it’s on me. I will do my best to describe the event but as I have no idea what the ½ route entails, I will write about the 10k.
First off, rolling up to Acadia University was pretty easy. We were expecting lots of traffic and difficulty parking. This was not the case at all. I’m going to say it was probably around 7 am that we arrived and Ben Brown (wheelchair athlete) had already departed for his 10k race. The parking lot adjacent to the track was still pretty empty and the traffic was light.
Upon entering the track, we could already hear the excitement of those racers warming up for the first event start (the ½ marathon) and the MC could be heard announcing the day’s events. Music was playing and immediately I got a sense of thrill and excitement for the day ahead. A long car ride, a large coffee and nervous jitters dictated my first move of the day. The washroom. Initially I eyed the 3 port a potties on the far edge of the field and thought oh dear… if that’s all we have, I’d better stake a permanent spot near the door. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that the stadium was open. No worries on the washroom front, plenty of facilities for all!
It was awesome to be present when Wheelchair Athlete Ben Brown came in after completing the 10k in 28:35. Having run the 10k, I can tell you that was no easy feat! He looked simply bagged when he crossed that finish line and I can bet he was! (more on the 10k route to follow) Amazing job and an amazing time! There is simply no ‘can’t’ and no ‘quit’ in this young man and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to witness his finish! I am also grateful to the organizers of the Valley Harvest Marathon 2017 for giving him the avenue to compete!
Immediately upon Ben’s finish, the ½ marathoners began to line up. Their start time was 0745. H2H 5k Race Director James Penny was eyeing up the Pace Bunnies trying to decide which one he would fall in with. I told him to stick with the 2:20.00 bunny, told him to stay slow on start up and if he felt good and was hitting his stride then he could go faster, I thought he took my advice, but he didn’t. More on that later! I believe he settled in behind the 2:10.00 bunny.
Immediately following the half marathoners, the 10k`s were up. That`s where I took to the mat. I myself eyed up the Pace Bunnies and decided I would put myself somewhere in between the 1:05and the 1:10. Funny enough, that`s where I finished!
The horn blasted and we were off. It was a cool start to the morning and I felt like with the overcast skies it was shaping up to be a beauty of a day and I could almost smell my PB (that`s personal best, not peanut butter) We left the track, and on to the main road in Wolfville. It didn`t take long before I realized that this is not your everyday flat course and it didn`t take long before the clouds broke and the heat and humidity slammed me right in the face. It`s October, the leaves are a beautiful shade of red and orange, what is this humidity! Luckily, as I was beginning to suck wind and saying a wistful goodbye to my dream of a PB I was greeted by the 5k turnaround point and a beautiful water stop. Good point 1; about the water stop; they separated the water carriers from the Gatorade carriers by shirt color. I think the blue shirts had water and the orange shirts had Gatorade. What a novel idea! I love that! If you are a race director and you are reading this and you are a director of marathon distances, this is an awesome idea! Take note! Good point 2; because I was dying, I decided to opt in for the Gatorade, I felt a bit guilty because I`m not running a marathon, it`s ``only`` a 10k, however, the sugar rush was just what I needed. Sugar rush indeed! It was perfect! I mean, some ``real`` runners might not like the mouthful of sugar and prefer the watered down version that I am used to, but this was a full mouthful of sugary goodness that went straight from my mouth to my legs! Perfect! Bad point; this water stop was also the 5k turn around. Not a great place for it. There was too much congestion from people getting their fuel and people turning right. I can`t count how many 5k`ers missed the turn right but I know there had to have been at least a few. Unless you were running on the right hand side of the road and unless you stopped for refreshment, I can`t see how you would have noticed the mark.
The great thing about this race is not the course itself, but the route. Stunning. The timing is perfect, the leaves on the trees are in that stage where they have changed color but have not yet fallen. This is key because there is nothing worse than running on wet fallen leaves. I can`t imagine more perfect timing to be honest. A right turn brings you from the main road down along farms. There is nothing better than a herd of cattle cheering you on as you race past. It really is something special! That was my whole take away, the jaw dropping autumn glow of the trees and pastures and the cattle mooing. Honestly my favorite run to date. 100%.
I found myself keeping time with the 1:05 Pace Bunny for the most part, but I did have to stop twice at the water stops and he managed to squeeze past me. I knew I wasn`t going to beat my first ever 10k time of 1:03, but there was still a good chance I`d beat my last 10k of 1:11.53 (Navy 10K) and I did. The victory half lap around the field brought me across the mat at 1:06.01! I`m calling that a PB! I don’t know if it was the amazing Autumn scenery, the Pace Bunny, the Gatorade or the inner competitor but I crossed that finish line looking like a hot mess and feeling like a million bucks! (my only prayer is that there is no photographic proof of the hot mess, though I`m 100% sure there is!) I did a quick washroom break, grabbed my camera and took to the main road so I could get a photo of Jim as he came in after his half. I figured I had a good half hour or so before seeing him so I decided to take a few shots of the other racers. The link to those photos is here. I settled into the pole and had my camera dangling by my side when all of a sudden out of the shadows came Jimmie! I was so startled and excited to see him that I brought my camera up to take a pic, the strap was wrapped around my knee and the force of bringing it up to my face caused it to snag and go crashing to the ground. Thankfully I managed to pick it up and snap the pics before he passed me. If you were a witness to the jumping and screaming fool running with a camera, that was me. If you were the person whom I smashed into with my lens hood, that was also me. I apologize profusely! I was expecting Jimmie to come in at around 2:10 or 2:15but certainly not 2:00! I was gobsmacked! I was screaming 2 hours 2 hours! It was actually 2:07.38 when he crossed the mat but I still was amazed. Considering he just finished his first half at Maritime Race Weekend just 3 short weeks prior, it was incredible to see him do so well at the Valley Harvest. Well done to you James Penney!
All in all, the Valley Harvest Marathon is a fantastic event. Getting in and getting out was very easy, the traffic was light and the availability of parking was plentiful. The organization was pristine, the facilities accommodating and the setting stunning. It`s not hard to tell why this event is 25 years old and going strong.
As for my co-race director and running buddy James Penney, I don`t care what he brings or doesn`t bring with him on a long run day, he is a real runner in my books! Welcome to the `elite` Jim! You`ve earned it!
The world is not flat.
The trail system in Musquodoboit is.
My first impression upon arriving at the 4th race in the MEC 2017 series is the amount of run club participants. It was great to see so many people coming together and running as a club. One of the many benefits of taking up running is the like minded individuals you can meet. Joining a run club is not like joining a gym. There is no competition, there is no sweaty equipment and no ‘gym rules’, you just show up and are immediately welcomed in with open arms. Joining a run club is intimidating but in reality there is always someone there who goes your pace and there is no other fitness club that is as friendly and welcoming as a running club.
The MEC series #4 race was very well organized. Plenty of parking available across the street from the entrance. Plenty of refreshments and washroom facilities. One trick I have learned is to get in the washroom lineup long before you have to go, by the time you get to the front of the line, you will need it.
The race began with a staggered start. The 15k’ers went first followed by what I’m going to assume is the 10k’ers then the 5’s. I can only assume because I was part of the 15k group. They had 3 water stations set up, each at each of the turn around points; 2.5k, 5k and 7.5k. This was very helpful not only for notating when you were supposed to turn around, but also having this many water stops along the route made it much easier to make it the full 15k. The weather was perfect, but it was a tad muggy so having access to 5 water stations was very much appreciated.
I love trail running for the scenery aspect alone. Not much to see on this trail though, once you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all. I also like runs that are a bit more challenging. I like the odd hill thrown in the mix. What goes up must come down. I like it when I can engage those glutes. This route is flat. Flatter than flat. I have never ran a route so flat. I think I actually zoned out and took a nap just before the turn around point. I could have easily PR’d on this one had I not just completed the MRW ½ the weekend before. Unfortunately for me I petered out at kilometer 10. I still finished with an average pace of 7.28/k, but prior to that I was sticking steady at a 6.5/k pace. That was the fastest I have run a 10 in years. Might seem like very super slow to most, but for me, it’s nuclear!
I missed race #1 due to illness, but I still say that the 2nd race in the series, the Citadel, is my favorite to date. I liked the Salt Marsh Trail one, it was challenging at points and the scenery was stunning but it was way too hot and they ran out of water or they cleaned it up before I got there, either way, it was a crappy day for a 10k. This one was nice, it’s a great PR race for someone who is concentrated on those things. The staggered start was perfect and the trail was super wide giving more than enough room for the back of the packers like myself and the head of the pack 5 and 10k racers coming up behind. The refreshments were plentiful and the atmosphere was jovial.
I’m anxiously awaiting what the final MEC series #5 will bring.
Pirates, Beer, a wedding, new records and a new trail run is what made this years Maritime Race Weekend the most epic yet!
After I failed miserably last year at the Sole Sisters ½ marathon, I vowed I would NEVER, EVER, NEVER sign up for another ½ marathon. The training alone was much more difficult than I ever expected. Hours upon hours of grueling run after grueling run. Logging hundreds of miles yet seeming like I’m getting nowhere. Then the big day came and at mile 8 I hit the wall with such ferocity that I thought I would never make it. I walked the remaining 5 miles. I finished that race 3rd from last and vowed at that time I would never do something so obviously unachievable again. It was in November of last year that I signed up to do the Maritime Race Weekend ½. Yep. Never, Ever, Never actually means, probably not tomorrow.
I think I began training for this ½ in January. H2H 5k Co-Race Director and running buddy James Penny and I started taking things really seriously in June. Right after the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k finished, our training for MRW ½ ramped up. It was also around that time that I went jogging with my favorite running buddy (my dog Joe). We were about a K into the run when he decided to stop suddenly, run in front of me and throw me butt over tea-kettle (if you know what I mean). Who knew I could do a triple salchow? I can! I can’t land it, but I can certainly do it! I got up, dusted myself off and continued on with my run. I injured myself that day. I didn’t realize it, but I’m pretty sure that was the day my ankle decided it was done with the whole running thing. I took a few weeks off, tried to recuperate, nothing was working. A quick visit to the walk in and the Doc told me that my running days were pretty much over. He confirmed that I had fractured my ankle and needed an x-ray. He told me not to run. My redemption ½ goals, crushed. Luckily for me, the x-ray indicated no fractures. I still have no idea what is wrong with my ankle, but it gets better every day and I almost have full range of motion back. Long story short, I got a brace and continued on training. My training partner and I finished this ½ in 2:39. Probably not the best time, but considering my ankle gave out at the 18 k mark, I’m definitely putting this in the WINNERS category. I was literally crying, limping, sweating and possibly swearing but I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop until I crossed that line and knowing that I did it, no matter what the clock said is a feat I’m pretty darn proud of.
On to my review;
Michelle Kempton does an incredible job with this race every year. As a race director for the H2H 5k I can truly appreciate all the work that goes into planning events. I can’t even for one second wrap my head around how she manages to do such an amazing job on the MRW. 2 days, 5 races, swag for days and medals that are so creative and fun who wouldn’t want to have them all? I barely keep it together for 1 race, never mind 5!
Lets talk about the routes;
The sunset 5k is completely flat and incredibly scenic. Racers go along shore road which just as the name suggests is a road along the shore. The scenery is beautiful. I didn’t sign up for this race so I can’t really give it a review, but I have run this route numerous times as the sun was going down so I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one you want to do if you’re looking for a 5k.
The 10k. Again, although this is not the race I did, I have run this route as well a number of times. It begins at Fisherman’s Cove. The nice thing about this one is that you start with all the racers! The ½ and the Marathoners. It’s amazing to see everyone lined up and ready to roll! Seeing so many people out to the event is a real energy boost! Much like the 5k, you begin your route along the Shore Road, up Caldwell, turn around behind the senior center (this is a great route addition because the residents come out and really enjoy watching the runners stop for water and cheer them on) then back to Shore road, up to the Golf course and back to FC. Along the route there were plenty of water stops, a number of residents cheering on the runners and plenty of entertainment provided by live musicians! I was told there was even a sprinkler set up on a home owners lawn that was a welcome treat as it was spraying over some of the racers as they went by. It was pretty hot on Saturday!
The ½ marathon. Wow! What can I say? This is my 2nd ½ marathon and I’m already thinking about signing up for the Tartan Trio next year. (The Tartan Trio is the Sunset 5k, the Sunrise 10 Saturday morning and the 15k trail run Saturday evening… 30k 2 days!) LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’m not going to sugar coat it though. This is not an easy route. It starts at fisherman’s cove where everyone starts, travels down shore road, up Caldwell (UP UP UP)… then UP UP UP again to Dyke Road and UP UP UP again to what the locals call “The Moose Loop”. Then it’s a series of 4 ups and 4 downs. This is a very hilly route. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. However, with that said, if there are that many ups, then there are just as many downs. The scenery alone is enough to take your mind off the fact that you are running uphill. When you finally catch your breath that was taken by the scenery you are already on your way down. To be honest, the hardest part of this route for me was the long steady incline that greets you between Buffalo Club to the Cow Bay Road/Dyke Road fork. Once you finish that then you’re golden. On the way back it was the slow steady incline from the Buffalo Club to Caldwell, but from there it is literally all down hill.
Along the route, besides the beautiful scenery, there were plenty of water stops! I think there were probably 5 or more. Each and every water stop had amazing volunteers and they were so well trained! I never spilled a single drop of water or Gatorade on myself! Speaking of which, there was PLENTY to go around as well! As a back of the pack runner, I often find myself getting the remnants of what was a massive supply. My last ½ was completely void of the sugary pick me up by the time I got there, not this ½, this ½ had enough for me AND a small village!
At the top of the 2nd hill around the Moose Loop there was a skittles station! Like are you kidding me? That was AWESOME! I do love me some Skittles and let me tell you, a mouth full of pure sugar really powered me through the next 2 hills. Following the Cow Bay Moose, there was a sponge station. I was so happy to see that! Ice cold sponges! Wonderful idea! On a day like Saturday where even my fingerprints were melting, being able to press an ice cold sponge to my head was like winning the lottery. It felt amazing and refreshing and really gave me the second wind I was so desperately seeking after the Moose Loop. As with all the stations, there was plenty to go around, even for the back of the packers like myself. It’s this attention to detail that really makes me want to keep coming back, over and over!
The Full Marathon;
Although I’d like to say that this is a race I will complete someday, I’m pretty sure that is just one long pipe dream. The route is beautiful again, It is pretty much the ½ marathon route with the added joy of going through the Shearwater Flyer Trail and adding Bissett Road to the mix. I’m all about trail running but sadly I just don’t see me ever doing this one. I’ll leave that review to the real pro’s J
The Tidal Trail 15k;
I am so stoked to sign up for the Tartan Trio next year. This race is billed as pancake flat and I can attest to the fact that the “Salt Marsh Trail” portion of the tidal trail is “pancake flat”, the Heritage trail portion is anything but. I would say prepare yourself for that fact if this is something you are going to go for. I know this because ½ of the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k takes part on this very portion of the Heritage trail. There is one saving grace though, the Tidal Trail 15k does start and finish a bit further up the trail so you are cutting out 2 large long hilly portions (for Hillside 2 Haiti 5k runners you know what I’m referring to), but there are still quite a few hilly spots that you want to make sure you are prepared for so you don’t start out too fast and end up hitting the wall on the way back. As for the view, well, I can tell you that this view is the absolute best of all the races at Maritime Race Weekend. You are basically running over the water. I can’t explain it, it’s something you want to see for yourself!
Well, that’s it. If you haven’t tried a race at MRW, you have to. Pick one, pick 2 (sunset 5k, sunrise 10k), pick 3 (The Tartan Trio) or do all 5! (crazy fool!) The distance is up to you, the experience and swag are like none I’ve ever seen! As my initial sentence read, every racer was able to enjoy a free post race beer! Ok, I’m not a big beer drinker but that one did certainly taste great! It was chilling in a canoe full of ice! There was a wedding at the finish line of the Tidal Trail 15k. (pics and story can be found online) and all the previous MRW records were smashed! (story online).
See you next year!
The smile of a "runners high" and a Personal Record bell ring to boot!
really not sure why this is saying playback on other websites is disabled... if anyone knows how I can fix this, let me know... tech savvy I am NOT. it's just a short clip of some of the obstacles.
Despite the frigid temperatures for the beginning of September, it didn't take long for us to warm up to all the fun that Foam Fest 2017 had to offer.
If I were to compare Foam Fest to Mud Hero, I have to give the win to Mud Hero. I had a ton of fun at Foam Fest and it was the first time I was able to run a race with my daughter so that made it even that much more special.
We chose the 2nd heat of the day to run in. I was quite shocked by the very small crowd that formed at the starting line for our heat. I really expected a lot more people. I do hope that more people become involved in events like these. They are family friendly, fun and really get you excited about being fit and truth be told, you don't even have to be fit to try one of these events.
The course itself was not fit for running in my opinion. I think that if Foam Fest is going to stake it's claim on Nova Scotia they are really going to have to try and find a different option than the Windsor Exhibition. The trail (if you can call it a trail) was full of divots and not at all suitable for someone who wants to give'er. The possibility of rolling an ankle and putting an abrupt end to your racing calendar was imminent. The exit from the exhibition to the train tracks was about the only place someone could run as it was a dirt road, other than that, navigating across very bumpy terrain and broken rotted train tracks was a serious accident just waiting to happen. There were 3 water stations along the route, which is nice to see for a 5k, however, the fact that the course wasn't at all fit for running and the temps were not at all warm, I didn't really need to hydrate.
The obstacles were completely do-able. There were a couple that I had to take a pause because they sure looked intimidating, but once I got over the initial anxiety completion was much easier than I anticipated. The only obstacle I chose not to do was the giant waterslide. I was almost going up when someone was coming down, the scream that escaped the lungs from that woman was enough to raise the dead and enough to solidify my decision to walk around. Mad props to my 56 year old hubby though, he took that slide like a champ! (although he did spread his arms and legs in an effort to somehow slow himself down... I'm shocked he didn't rip off a limb to be honest)
The Foam Fest is definitely more of a FUN family race to do, it's not a test your fitness kind of event. It wasn't timed, and the obstacles were very family friendly. If you are looking for an event to enjoy some family fitness and have a great mud slinging and foam slipping bonding session then this event is for you. If you are looking to brag about your fitness abilities, and give yourself a slap on the back for killing a true mud dripping, shoe sticking, gruelling sweat dripping timed event, then stick with Mud Hero, this race is just for fun.
I mentioned in an earlier blog about my desire to try a plant based diet because of the success I have witnessed in my running buddy and co-race director James Penney. I am happy to say that after a little more than a month I have shed 22 pounds so far! This is the easiest thing to stick to for me. I feel great and without any perceived effort I have lost quite a bit of weight and in turn was able to shed more time off my PR's.
I'm going to pop in now and then to share some of my favourite Plant Based recipes that I've adapted from the Forks over Knives cookbook. Below is a video recipe for Currie Potato Wraps. Delicious and oh so filling! Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out on any of my favourites! (please forgive my obvious amateur videography... haha! Well, I tried! LOL
Curried Potato Wraps
2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Yellow Onion Diced
1 Tomato Diced
1 Clove Garlic minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
4 ox frozen green peas
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
Steam potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Remove from that and transfer to a bowl to let cool, then peel and dice.
Dice onion and tomato. Mince garlic and ginger. Juice lime. Chop cilantro.
Saute onions, garlic and 1/4 cup of water in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown. Add tomatoes, peas, ginger and another 1/4 cup of water, and cook until peas are heated through.
Add potatoes, lime juice, curry powder, salt, and cumin. Add another 1/2 cup of water to mixture, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a few minutes more, or just until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from that and stir in cilantro, if desired.
Heat tortillas in a skillet over medium heat until pliable, about 20 seconds on each side.
Place some filling in centre of each tortilla. Fold sides of tortilla over filling, the roll up to enclose.
Humidity, Joy, Tears and fat shaming.
I’ll admit that the Navy 10k is not my favorite race to participate in, but being an ex-sailor and a current DND employee, I do sign up and run this race every year, not because of the route, or the after party or the swag, but simply because of my connection to it and the support that I will forever give it. This year, the Navy 10k welcomed over 800 racers! Though that sounds like a big number; and by H2H 5k standards, it’s staggering, and even though it’s almost 200 more than last year, I remember the Navy 10k could draw close to a thousand runners, if not more. The connection to the Epic Canadian is what I believe prompted the additional registrations. I mean who doesn’t like ‘special Canada 150 swag’?
The route is a good route in my opinion. It’s billed as a flat course, but that’s not entirely true. In recent years, the route went up Gottingen to Novalea which was a bit of an uphill climb. Nothing major, just a very slight incline but a long one. They have since changed the route to go in a clockwise direction but that didn’t lessen the uphill climb or shorten it, it just changed the street. I’m not sure which direction is better, if there is a better one. Not that either direction are terribly awful, I quite enjoy the route. The only reason the Navy 10k is not my favorite race is because the 10k is 2 loops. I very much prefer either an out and back route or a single loop. The double loop is too much of a mind jumble for me. After the first time around you know exactly where you are and exactly how much further you have to go and exactly how many more ups there are. The great thing about either direction is both end on the down so you can seriously give yourself an extra push to the finish. The thing I liked best about the counter clockwise direction is that the distance to the finish once it was in view was a whole heck of a lot shorter so you could really turn on those after burners once you saw the finish line.
The swag was on point! I really love the drinking glass that came with the swag this year! It commemorated both my epic finish at the Epic Canadian but also my epic Navy 10k finish! The shirts are very well designed and the medals were the best yet! Race Director Kevin Miller really stepped it up this year and I have to say I was very impressed!
Halifax Regional Police stopped traffic along the route so it was really nice to have the entire street to ourselves. Having this protection is a welcome but very expensive perk so another shout out to Kevin Miller for setting this up every year.
There were 2 water stops along the route. Considering the route is only 5k, you can double that to 4 water stops if you are doing the 10. This was key. According to regulations, only 1 water stop is required per 5k so doubling up on that was awesome because you could literally cut the humidity with a knife it was that thick!
Along the route there were plenty of volunteers happily cheering us on and the occasional resident would stand in their doorway to give us encouraging words. Running a race in a residential neighborhood is nice because you get the families standing in front of their houses and the kids will give high 5’s. It’s awesome to get a high 5 from a kid. The energy literally transfers from them to you and you can feel your legs get lighter. I have never met anyone who would not cheer on racers running in a race, even if they had to stop their car and wait for hundreds of racers to run by, I have never met someone who would out right be unnecessarily cruel to anyone who is doing all they can to better themselves and in some cases their community. That is until this past Sunday.
If you know me, you know I’m not an elite runner. It takes everything in me to take that first step. It takes even more to continue on with each step until my goal is reached. The war inside my head rages on and on. The voice that tells me I’m too fat to be a runner. The voice that tells me I’m doing serious damage to my joints because this much weight should never attempt to run. The voice that tells me I’ll never PR because not only am I fatter this year than last year I’m also a year older. That voice that just won’t quit until my foot lands on the finish line and I am filled with joy and jubilation at the fact that yes, this fat old body CAN do it, this old fat body WILL do it and whether I PR or not I got my fat butt out the door and I DID IT! My own inner voice is so loud that the fact that some man in a cowboy hat sitting in the comfort of his van yelling out that “this must be a run for fat people” and “looks like you could use the run” didn’t register until I read about it on Facebook. What can I say about how that made me feel. Nothing really. Feeling something would mean that this person had an affect on me and clearly he didn’t because I didn’t even register that he was there. The only thing I feel about this man is deep sadness. I feel like he is fighting his own demons and I pray that someday he will fight his demons off the same way I do, by lacing up and going for a run.
All in all, the Navy 10k is a fabulous event. It supports those that supported our Nation in times of uncertainty and they have races for everyone. Youth races at 1.5 and 2k , the 5k and the 10k. The swag is always a nice option and the fact that the road is closed for racers makes it even better. The route is fun because people don’t have to walk far to cheer you on and even though it’s not pancake flat, it’s flat enough that you can easily PR. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Navy 10k yet, I suggest you add it to your calendar for next year. As always, I will see you there!
1st Run after a 2 Week Hiatus
I have been fitted for my brace at Soles in Motion on Baker Drive by specialist Alex Josey. Alex is very knowledgeable in her trade, she helped me a lot and was very easy to talk to. If you suffer from any kind of injury I highly recommend going to see her.
After a 2 week total exercise hiatus I have to say I was very apprehensive about going out again last night. I completed the Moose Loop at an average pace of 7:20. This includes the numerous stopping breaks. It was a 7.8k route so all in all I'm pleased with the result. My ankle burned and throbbed a bit along the way but the brace did it's job as today I am pain free and no swelling. I'm going to call that a win! Did my plant based diet have any affect on my ability to get right back at it? I still have 3 weeks to go before I can truly make a statement to that effect.
Plant Based Diet - the good
The flavours of the food I've been trying are amazing. I hate onions! I honestly don't know why anyone enjoys them. They smell like armpit and I can only imagine that if I were to lick a hairy sweat encrusted armpit that they would taste like onions. Grosse right? I also hate beans. Disgusting!
When I put my mind to something, when I truly commit to something, I always go all in. I'm going to have to get over my hatred for onions and beans and just plug my nose and dig in. I can honestly tell you that no nose plugging is required. The delicious flavour of these dishes overpower the armpit taste/smell of those nasty onions and I don't even mind that nasty bean texture that would typically have me gagging and running from the dinner table.
Dreams - vivid! I can remember each of my dreams since switching to plant based. They are like watching a movie. They are vivid and exciting and sometimes a bit strange. I don't know for sure if this is a side effect of going plant based, but it's kinda cool.
Sleep - I have a much better sleep. I don't sleep as long. I find myself going to bed later than usual, sleeping like a rock and waking up much earlier than normal feeling fully rested.
Cravings - I am (was) a sugar addict! Pure sugar. It would be nothing for me to make a pot of brown sugar fudge (just brown sugar, a bit of milk and butter melted down and boiled to the soft ball candy stage) and eat the full pan in one sitting. Candy sweet tarts, rockets and bottle caps were my nightly treat. I could eat Nutella from the jar like it was pudding. My sugar cravings were so intense that I would find myself foraging the pantry for anything sweet I could get my hands on. Daily. I am proud to say that I haven't had a craving or missed my candy addiction in a full week or more. I love the natural sweetness I get from dates and grapes. My sugar addiction has been kicked to the curb and I didn't even notice.
Headaches. Ugh. I'm a chronic migraine sufferer. I can typically keep them at bay with my 6 hour dose of Advil. Since switching to plant based, that 6 hour dose isn't helping. My headaches are there, constant and extremely annoying. They suck and if I wasn't someone who digs in to a commitment I would already be hitting the cheesesteak and ice cream. I'm giving it 3 more weeks. I have committed to that. If after my 30 day trial these headaches don't improve, despite the other benefits, I will be throwing in the towel.
The Downright Ugly
Bathroom issues - since fruit and veggies are full of water, I have been taking more trips to the bathroom. I am typically well hydrated to begin with and my visits to the bathroom have always been frequent. I never dreamed they would or could become more frequent. Well they are. That is extremely annoying! I literally had to return to the washroom just 5 minutes after the last. Crazy! Ain't nobody got time for that!
#2. Even with all the additional hydration and extra fiber in my new diet, I couldn't go. 3 days passed and I couldn't go. I'm pleased to say that after my run last night things have begun moving again. It's too bad that the butt clenching toe curling urge to go happened mid way through my 7k run.
cold soup is not something I've ever personally tried before, in fact I never even knew it was a thing, however, I tried it and lived it! No better time than Summer to try this delicious soup served cold.
8 English cucumbers peeled/seeded/diced
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeño seeded
2 avocados seeded/peeled/diced
2 green bell peppers seeded/diced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
4 clives garlic (2 tsp)
2 pears peeled/diced
Add all except pears and cilantro to food processor and process until smooth. Stir in pears and cilantro. Serve cold.
I used an apple corer to seed the cucumbers. It was strangely satisfying.
Cube the avocado while still in the skin then scoop out with a spoon. Easy and mess free.
Redemption 1/2 Training Back On!!
I'm so excited!! Met with my Doc Thursday. He wrote me a prescription for an ankle brace and cleared me for running again!! He also made me step on the scale with which I promptly asked him where he kept the scalpels. Agh! 220 lbs! Are you kidding me? I have been refusing to weigh myself for about 4 years. I knew I was packing on pounds like a Real Housewife packs for a night out, but I really did not know I had put on that much! What an eye opener! He told me I didn't have to look, but it's kind of like a nasty car wreck, you want to look away but you just can't. In any case, after years of fad diet after fad diet and the constant yo yo weight I'm now going to get serious about not only my health but my fitness as well. I went to Soles in Motion on Baker drive and was fitted with a wonderful ankle brace. 1/2 marathon training picks up again tomorrow!
Powered by Plants
On one of my recent training runs with co race director James Penny, I was in awe at how easily he was taking to the long runs. The change in him in one short year has been incredible to watch. As he ran past me almost effortlessly he hollered back "plant power!!" Jimmy has been trying to get me to move to a plant based diet for weeks and well, he's finally convinced me. I'm giving it 30 days. My Doc visit really opened my eyes to just how unhealthy I really am and the 2 week training break I had to take due to the uncertainty with my ankle made me realize that I really need to see if I too can become "plant powered"
I have to say that this past week has been incredibly easy to stick to. I hate beans. The texture literally disgusts me. I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to stick to a nutrition plan that was BEAN based. GROSSE! I gave it a chance anyway. The recipes I found in the "Forks over Knives" cookbook have been easy to prepare, exceptionally delicious and to quote my hisband "bite your face flavourful" ha! Whatever that means? After a week of plant based meals, my family is 100% on board for plant based nutrition! They too are amazed at just how good these meals taste.
I will post my favorites here occasionally during my 30 day plant based trial so if you're interested in trying some of these dishes out yourself, feel free! All recipes were taken from the Forks over Knives Cookbook.
Positively Pink Salad
1 beet raw, peeled and chopped
1 Pomegranate seeded
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 cup of frozen corn thawed
1 avocado cubed
1 can of navy beans rinsed and drained
1 box of couscous (about 4 cups cooked)
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and toss
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
Whisk until smooth
Pour over salad and toss to coat ( not all the dressing is required)
the easiest way to seed a pomegranate is to cut it in half and beat the outside skin with a wooden spoon, the seeds fall right out!
when cutting an avacado cut it in 1/2 around the pit, twist to seperate then chop down on the pit with a sharp chopping knife. Twist the knife to remove the pit. Use a paring knife to slice the flesh while still in the skin. Once it's cubed, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.